According to a new report, New York City and state could see an economic boost of $71 million dollars in just one year if six area community colleges increased their graduation rates by ten percent.
The report, released by the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City think-tank, states that the country’s five most populous cities – Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chicago – all have four-year community college graduation rates of 20 percent or less. In New York City, only 28 percent of community college students earn an associate or bachelor’s degree within 6 years of enrolling, only slightly higher than the national average of 26 percent.
The authors of the report estimate that increasing the number of community college graduates who entered in 2009 would result in a $71 million boost for New York City and the state of New York, with a $16 million increase in annual earnings (including $2.1 million in taxes paid out to the city and state ), $28.5 million increase in economic activity due to graduate spending, and $26.5 million in taxpayer dollars going towards college graduates rather than college dropouts.
Despite distinctive and sometimes challenging features of community colleges, such as open admission policies and high remediation rates, the institutions have options for increasing graduation rates. The report makes several recommendations for improvement, including suggestions that are already being implemented by many postsecondary institutions that offer Career Technical Education (CTE). These include building partnerships among the private sector and education and training entities to develop career pathways. Additionally, the report encourages the development of a statewide articulation and transfer system, which would also “create a platform for supporting dual enrollment and early college high school, as well as articulation between non-credit certificate programs and associate-level programs.”
In addition to the economic benefits received by the community, employers and graduates would also benefit from increased community college graduation rates; employers would benefit from the larger pool of qualified workers, and graduates would raise their earning potential with a 2-year credential or certificate.
Read the full report here.
Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst